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Google and Francotel Fight Over AdWords Domains
Google are no stranger to UDRP cases, but they’re usually the ones filing them against other organisations, not the ones defending their own domain registrations. It looks like at least on this occasion, they are getting to experience the other side of a dispute for a change.
Francotel LLC, a company based in France, have filed a complaint with WIPO to try and acquire the domain name adwords.com, currently owned by Google to support their AdWords product.
Francotel already have an established French Trademark on the AdWords name, and earlier this year they attempted to have Google’s EU Trademark overturned. They weren’t successful however, and this seems to be the next attempt to try and recover some Adwords related real estate.
Unsurprisingly Google didn’t take kindly to the idea of someone trying to overturn their trademark and in response, they promptly filed a UDRP themselves against Francotel regarding the name ad-words.mobi. This case is currently still pending, so it remains to be seen if Google will gain the upper hand.
As the sparring match continued, Francotel decided to file the UDRP regarding Adwords.com and explained in their complaint that there is no need for Google to use this domain name other than to confuse consumers and interfere with their Mark. The company also claim that the domain name is being used to indirectly infringe on thousands of trademark holders rights across the globe. Francotel even go so far as to say that Google’s use of the domain name is both abusive and anticompetitive.
Interestingly, the domain adwords.fr is also owned by Google and currently directs to their main AdWords landing page. It would seem that this domain would have been the logical choice for a domain dispute, since Francotel hold a French Trademark. Going after the .com seems to be an ambitious campaign, and I would be extremely surprised if they are successful in their quest to recover it.
It may be that the company are well aware of their actual chances, but they do say that no publicity is bad publicity, and going up against Google is one way to get yourself noticed! The story has been featured on several Domaining Blogs, and the company themselves have posted on forums about their attempt to recover the name.
I for one had never heard of Francotel before this incident, so perhaps they’re onto something after all!